Yesterday I was scolded… and by a small woman.
Her name is Jane, though I still call her by the name of her youth — Janie. You may know her as a frequent commenter here on aliens and strangers. Or you may know her as the author of my own favorite running blog on the internet. I know her as a friend from church camp and a fellow missionary in China.
But she wants me to know her as my conscience.
Janie said my blog readers need an update.
And Janie’s right. So here it is, my friendly readers — what our family’s been up to of late:
- We’ve been back in Geita now for over a week. We’re really happy to be home again.
- But the transition between time zones did not go as smoothly as we would have liked. Baylor had a really hard time with the changing sleep schedule (meaning Mama and Baba did, as well).
- We’ve already had some troubles with illness since being back. Baylor got impetigo, and I had a short-lived viral infection with fever and an achy body. Baylor’s almost finished a round of antibiotics, and her face is clearing up well; and all that remains from my little bout with a virus is a slight sore throat.
- I should apologize to those of you who would have been interested in knowing things about our family (like those above), so that you could have been praying for us.* I’m sorry I didn’t keep you informed; I intend to do a better job in the future of sharing prayer requests with all of you. [More on this in an email soon to come.]
- We’ve had guests in our home since we’ve been back in Tanzania. Theron Guild (of Abilene, TX) and Craig Bullington (of Murfreesboro, TN) were with us until yesterday. That’s when Theron started his journey back to the states. Craig, however, will remain with our team until around May (or thereabouts). He is the Geita team’s first official apprentice.**
- But yesterday Craig, in a mid-season move, was given to the Groens in a trade for Jonathan and Brooklyn Sims, who have yet to wake up from their first night’s sleep in our house. Jonathan and Brooklyn are recent graduates of Harding University in Arkansas, and are looking at a possible future in missions. I suppose they are the Geita team’s second and third official apprentices. They’ll be in Geita until sometime in February, and then may return again for another stint with us before going back to the states later next year.***
- The land for Neema House and the demonstration farm is once again tied up in some government issues (that are sure to be resolved, but do mean more waiting for now — you can read more details in this post by Craig).
- But yesterday, in Mwakiwasha village, we were offered a small plot of land to farm. The land belongs to Yohana, one of the church leaders there. I told him we didn’t need land to farm for the sake of food — that Mwakiwasha was so far from our home — but that I would be interested in doing some agricultural experiments on that plot of land. That way if everything we try fails, there will have been no one depending on this field; and if it doesn’t, there will be extra crops that can be sold for the benefit of the local churches and the communities in which they exist.
- We also agreed to partner with a small women’s group to do some agriculture education in conjunction with this land (and with their own strip of land). There are six ladies from the church who farm a field and use the money they make to buy dishes and “decorations” for the church. They want to learn more about farming, so we’ve now formed our first little farmer’s cooperative. We’ll do trials and experiments in our field, and they can use our best proven practices in their own field. This opportunity is really an answer to prayer.
So I’ve caught you up on the last week and a half of our lives. I realize I’ve been away for quite a long time — and I’ve told you very little about our furlough in the U.S. Perhaps I’ll get around to that in another email. For now, though, you can know that we left the states slightly heavier than when we arrived, incredibly encouraged, and more tired than we thought was possible. We appreciate all of you who went out of your way to see us, or who allowed us to stay in your homes, or who pitched in to help cover some of our expenses. God has really blessed us with great families, an abundance of good friends, and wonderful and Godly sponsoring churches.
Oh, and please continue praying for us, and for our work here in Geita.
* I should also probably apologize to those of you who became accustomed to reading my blog five days a week — and were disappointed to find that I all but stopped writing completely during our furlough. So, to the three of you and my mom, “I am sorry.”
** Though he is technically more an apprentice of the Neema House portion of our work, we’ve all really enjoyed having Craig around. You’ll probably hear more about him later.
*** Our team has already grown to love the Sims family, and — like Craig — you’ll be hearing more about them in the future… in a new segment on the blog titled “Ranking the Apprentices.”